One of the smartest aspects about Cortana for Windows Phone 8.1 – besides the whole AI thing – is the ability for Microsoft to change dynamically the personal assistant without an OS update. That’s because those ‘pages’ that deliver her information are HTML5 generated web data, meaning it can be altered without much effort.
Reports are coming in from our forums today that Cortana had some changes, including new animations, Tile icons and more. However, those changes have since rolled back already, which could indicate some early testing in preparation for a wider rollout.
Forum member ‘thaman04’ reports seeing the following changes today, with a few others observing the same:
- When you click on the Cortana tile, she has new animated expressions (for example, she turns into a bouncy ball like she's excited... really cool!)
- The live tile now has new icons on it - The normal Cortana breathing icon, Weather, Traffic to work, and now the weather icon (e.g. today it shows a cloud with a sun)
- New interests + notifications available in Cortana's notebook (for e.g. specific news types, traffic notifications)
- New quiz option at the bottom of today view to let Cortana learn a bit more about your personal interests/habits.
- New "Give Cortana Feedback" link at the bottom of Cortana's today view.
Another member named ‘xconomicron’ noticed that Cortana would repeat your name back if you ask her “What is my name?”
I have personally seen some of the new animations, like the bouncy ball one, but only on my Lumia 1520 and not on my other devices. By the time the information was coming out in our forums, the features were being rolled back for users.
Combined with yesterday’s UK tease for enabling Cortana, it looks like Microsoft is getting ready to go to a new phase for the personal assistant. A similar ‘update’ happened a few weeks ago when Cortana’s voice became more human, due to newer recordings using Jen Taylor’s voice.
Did you see any of those new features today? What else are you looking forward to with Cortana?
Source: Windows Phone Central Forums
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Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.